By Elena Robustelli
Boring summer days are finally a thing of the past – well, at least if you’re near Westchester suburbia, thanks to the Pleasantville Music Festival. The fest, which takes place on July 8 at Parkway Field, is celebrating its 13th birthday, and with headliners such as 90s rockers Blues Traveler as well as the politically charged Living Colour, younger audiences in the tri-state area might assume that this is only their parents’ music festival. Not to fear! The PMF caters to all ages and all music tastes, from rock to singer/songwriter to pop to indie and more. Still don’t believe me? I sat down with rising star Caleb Flood, a 19-year old Hastings-On-Hudson native whose YouTube videos have racked millions of views, and who will be playing the PMF with his band, The Culture! Check out our conversation below, and buy your tickets to the 2017 Pleasantville Music Festival below. You won’t want to miss it.
Link to purchase tickets: http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=7327365&ref=wb
ER: At this year’s festival, you’ll be playing the Pleasantville Music Festival’s main stage with the NYC-based band The Culture (congrats!). How did this merger of sorts come about?
CF: About a year ago, Joe, guitarist for The Culture, heard my music on Soundcloud and showed it to Rick and Josh, bassist and drummer for The Culture. They wrote to me and about a week later we were working together. Since then, we have been honing our sound and making a five song EP that will be released early this summer.
ER: Tell us about the song “Doubts” and how it ended up being played regularly on The Peak.
CF: I wrote Doubts in the Netherlands in the fall of 2013. Two years later I recorded “Doubts” with producer P.J. Bianco in Los Angeles. We recorded and produced the song in one day. Then, in the summer of 2016 I submitted “Doubts” to The Peak’s 9:37 Local segment and it was picked up by Coach. I’d like to give a big shoutout to Coach and everyone at The Peak for giving radio play to up and coming unsigned artists like me.
ER: What is being said at the beginning of that song?
CF: I get asked this question all the time and honestly I’m not sure. The sample is from a software called Stylus RMX. P.J. and I chose that sample for its sound without knowing what it meant.
ER: You have a lot of videos on YouTube of acoustic performances. Do you prefer playing in a band or on your own?
CF: I prefer playing with a band, I feed off of the energy of the people on stage with me. Also, being able to move around freely is something I miss when I play solo shows. I do really enjoy performing alone though; there’s a certain intimacy and emotional connection I get playing solo and acoustic that is hard to find in the power of a full band.
ER: Who are your musical inspirations?
CF: My influences often change with my music taste. I would say that right now my main inspirations include Bon Iver, Kanye West, Ed Sheeran, Frank Ocean, and Cage the Elephant.
ER: What was it like playing Garcia’s @ the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, opening for Hollis Brown (another band playing the PMF this year)?
CF: The show at Garcia’s was amazing, the venue looks and sounds great. I was blown away by Hollis Brown and I’m stoked to be sharing the stage with them again at the Pleasantville Music Festival. Once again, I’d like to thank the great people at The Peak for giving me that opportunity and so many others.
ER: It’s amazing that you’ve gotten so far already, especially since you’re only 19 years old! Are you in college for music or do you plan to focus on your career right now?
CF: Thank you. Although I’m young I have been performing and recording professionally for almost six years. I decided to take this year off from college in order to work on my career but I will start school this coming August as a freshman at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU where I will be studying music performance, production, and business.
ER: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
CF: I would describe my music as Alt-Pop. My sound incorporates elements of alternative rock, singer-songwriter, pop, and hip-hop.
ER: Musically speaking, what besides the PMF do you have planned for the summer?
CF: As I said earlier, I am releasing a five song EP with The Culture so I expect a lot of my time this summer will be spent making music videos for the five songs. May 19th I am playing a solo acoustic show at Sidewalk NYC. As of right now, I have no other shows planned besides Sidewalk and the Pleasantville Music Festival, but definitely check out my social media to stay tuned for more upcoming shows and updates about new releases.
ER: How has your songwriting style evolved over the years?
CF: When I was younger a lot of my songwriting was based on the music that my parents liked, artists like: Elton John, Tracy Chapman, the Police, Michael Jackson, and Joan Armatrading. While those artists’ influence is not gone, I have developed my own music taste which has changed the way that I write. Also, I used to write with only an acoustic guitar and though I still write that way sometimes, I now write most of my songs on the computer.
ER: What advice do you have for fellow up-and-coming musicians from suburbia?
CF: Play as many shows as you can, always be closing, and send your music to the Peak’s local 9:37 segment.
Author’s note: This interview is one in a series of articles about the PMF artists.